Why does Prince William refuse to wear a kilt when he’s in Scotland?

Royal men wear kilts when they’re in Scotland. It’s just what they do. Prince Philip always wore kilts when he was out and about in Scotland, and King Charles loves to drop his trousers and grab a kilt. I think Prince Edward and Prince Andrew tend to only wear kilts when they’re doing actual formal events in Scotland. But guess who never wears a kilt? Prince William. And Harry too, because Harry’s name is included in this Daily Mail story, like Harry still lives on that godforsaken island.

Like other male members of the Royal Family, King Charles has been more than happy to appear in a kilt – and was resplendent in tartan once again this week before his Scottish coronation. The Royal Family has deep connections north of the border, with several Scottish properties including Balmoral – where the royals spend the late summer and autumn – Birkhall and the Castle of Mey. Wearing a kilt is practically a royal duty. But this is one royal tradition that appears as though it might die out with the heir to the throne.

It seems, in fact, that Prince William refuses to be seen dead in tartan. Certainly, there have been no pictures of a kilted Wills in adulthood. His brother Harry doesn’t seem to keen, either. The Prince of Wales has never explained as to why he refuses to wearing one. It might seem all the stranger given that he was educated at St Andrew’s University on the coast of Fife. Prince William even had the choice to wear one for his graduation ceremony but instead, chose to wear a traditional suite with a white bow tie and black silk academic gown with a red lining.

As The Daily Mail’s Richard Kay has explained: ‘The Windsors observe a unique – if eccentric – set of house rules when it comes to how to dress in Scotland. The men wear kilts, not just on official engagements but during their off-duty moments too. Even Princess Diana, no lover of things Scottish, used to display a gesture, such as a tam o’ shanter, to the delight of the Celtic fringe.’

[From The Daily Mail]

The article goes on to list the history of kilt-wearing among royals and while that’s sort of interesting, it’s weird that we’ve never gotten an answer on this. Why does William eschew kilts? Does he think that wearing a kilt would be cultural appropriation? Or is he just too self-conscious about it? Or maybe he simply doesn’t respect Scottish culture? It’s definitely weird that, like, no one has ever established why William refuses? Also: Harry would look great in a kilt.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Cover Images.

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65 Responses to “Why does Prince William refuse to wear a kilt when he’s in Scotland?”

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  1. Tessa says:

    Diana had more Scottish ancestry than the Windsor. Several lines of descent through Charles the second and james the second. I think she disliked going to Balmoral but I think she did appreciate her Scottish heritage.

    • Lauren says:

      Eh, the Queen Mother was Scottish, she just, like a lot of Scottish aristos, didn’t have the accent.

      • Jensa says:

        The Queen Mother was part of an aristocratic Scottish family, but she was born and largely brought up in England, as were both her parents and all four of her grandparents. So she wasn’t all that Scottish in reality, apart from the historical titles (and homes) on her father’s side of the family.

    • Cairidh says:

      Diana used to put on a Scottish accent sometimes.
      Her mother was part scottish and after the custody hearing in which Earl Spencer was granted custody, he actually agreed to a 50/50 split of time spent with himself and with Frances. So Diana spent half her school holidays in Scotland, on the Isle of SeiL or Frances other home in Scotland (can’t remember where it was).

      • Fortuona says:

        The Windor’s and the Bowes-Lyons’ are all related to Marjorie Bruce, Robert the Bruce’s daughter whose line the Stewart Kings descended from

  2. Loretta says:

    Maybe William is afraid of the air in his balls LOL

  3. Molly says:

    Yeah, nah, I’m good, thanks. Don’t need to see him in a kilt… :0

  4. Maybe he is afraid someone will sneak up on him and peg him and then everyone would know for sure? Who knows maybe his legs aren’t good kilt material.

  5. Amy Bee says:

    The Royal Family has been accused of doing Scottish cosplay so I think William refusing to wear a kilt is a good thing. The Royal Family are not Scottish they just own a lot a land and property there. As for William being connected to Scotland because he went to St. Andrews he only went there because he didn’t have the grades to get into Cambridge or Oxford.

    • BQM says:

      They do have Scottish heritage through the queen mother who was a Bowes Lyon. But I don’t think most the younger generation feels any real connection.

    • Jais says:

      Was it in the national that they accused the Windsors of cosplay and treating Scotland like their own Tartan Disneyland? That was a great article and written when the Wales did that mini Scotland tour a few years back. I mean I can see tourists buying and wearing kilts and that’s kind of what they are. Except for them owning so much land part.

    • Cairidh says:

      Charles is 75% German. His childhood was nomadic staying in various homes in both England and Scotland. His favourite home was always the Balmoral estate. His nanny and governess were Scottish, he went to secondary school in Scotland. I understand why people don’t consider him Scottish but he isn’t really any more English than he is Scottish.

      European royalty have their own culture which is distinct from the rest of the people who live in their countries. The BRF aren’t really English.

      Diana had some Scottish blood via her mother, as well as the Bowes Lyon’s. So william does have some Scottish genes, as well as being the descendant of Mary Queen of Scots and Robert the Bruce.

      • Tessa says:

        The Windsor descended from james the first daughter elizabeth. Her descendents were the hanoverian kings. Charles has three lines of descent from George the third. Diana descended from the male line of the Stuart’s. She descends from Charles the second and james the second on several lines. She has scottish descent through both her parents.

      • Cairidh says:

        A lot of people believe James goldsmith was the biological father of Diana.
        If you look up his daughter Charlotte Boulay Goldsmith there’s a strong resemblance to pictures of Diana as a child and teenager when she had longer brown hair.

    • Flowerlake says:

      They do have Scottish heritage even aside from the Queen Mother.

      The whole reason that the Union of the Crowns came to be was because a Scottish King (James VI of the House of Stuart) became King of England as well in 1603. He was the grandson of Henry VIII’s sister Margaret. After all Henry’s legitimate children had died, he succeeded in England as James I.
      His descendants have been on the throne ever since.
      They were officially united as one kingdom at the early 18th century under Queen Anne Stuart. Before that they had still functioned separately in many (but not all) ways, though under one monarch.

      People sometimes think of the current royals as just German, but George I became king because he was the first protestant in the line of succession as a descendant of James VI’s daughter Elizabeth after Queen Anne died childless. So even though there were a lot of marriages with German highborn ladies, it was because of this Scottish link that they actually have a claim to both the old English and Scottish thrones.

      Funnily enough, Margaret’s father Henry VII was warned that if he allowed his daughter to marry a Scottish King, the Scots might take over at some point in England. He replied that the bigger/richer (can’t remember exactly which) country would always dominate the smaller one. And he was proven right in the centuries after that.
      Several Monarchs did not even set foot in Scotland and it was Victoria especially who took up an interest in Scotland and spent a lot of time there.

      • Flowerlake says:

        Correction: James VI was the great -grandson of Margaret.
        His mother was the famous Mary, Queen of Scots, and his grandfather James V.

  6. HeyKay says:

    Maybe he is tired of being told what to do? Refusing to cosplay?
    No one really cares do they? The many Not My King protesters made it pretty clear how they feel about the BRF.

    • Jojo says:

      Yeah. I’m here to say similar. Who cares. Not many Scottish people wear kilts anymore either.

    • Cairidh says:

      He’s been refusing since he was a teenager. He probably though it wasn’t cool and maybe saw it as wearing a skirt (not safe to say that out loud in Scotland).

      People probably pressured him to wear one and the dug his heels in, and became determined not to.

  7. BadHair says:

    I’m fine with William not doing Scottish cosplay.

    • SarahCS says:

      I’m also in this camp. Their lives are so full of ridiculous pageantry they can afford to lose a bit. It’s not like all the regular Scottish people are wearing these daily.

      • Andrea says:

        Having traveled Scotland a couple of times, I can confirm that men wear kilts and not just for special occasions.

      • Cairidh says:

        I’m half Scottish. My relatives would wear full dress kilt for any activity that called for dressing up/dressing smartly. Christmas Day (even if informal, with some people still in pyjamas), inviting guests for dinner, going to a restaurant. Any time English men would wear a suit.

        Royals are supposed to dress up for royal visits. So they should be wearing suits or the Scottish equivalent which is full kilt outfit (inc sporran, knife in socks, jacket).

        Scots who work outdoors do often wear the non formal kilt with a jumper in daily life. As King Charles always has.
        I’m disappointed William won’t wear kilts, when he’ll be the King of Scotland.

    • Gillian says:

      Being 100% Scottish I can safely say that outwith weddings/graduations/burns suppers/international football and rugby matches men don’t wear kilts at all, I’ve always felt it incredibly patronising that the royals wear kilts…I mean Kate looks pathetic dressing up in a country’s flag colours (what would she do at the olympics??!) so to me anyone wearing a kilt just because they’re in Scotland is just as ridiculous

      • Cairidh says:

        I don’t like it when non Scot’s wear kilts, but I think The king and royal family of Scotland should be wearing them.

  8. Flower says:

    Every picture of WanK just further serves to show how totally out of sync they are.

    Whilst the RotaRats and newsroom Editors can’t blow the whistle just yet, they are screaming through the photos they choose to display to the public.

    I bet they’ve written the various monologues and think pieces ready for the s8 super-injunction to fall away when finally one of the Wails blows their own cover.

    It’s going to be a blood bath when finally the rags start singing.

  9. CJW says:

    Ok, now all I can see in my head is Harry in a kilt. I bet he’d look like a snack.

  10. Cj says:

    When in the last 5 years has Harry been in Scotland to know his views on kilts?

    Maybe William really hates his knees or calves. There’s a lot of leg in view if you wear a kilt…

    • Cali says:

      Somewhere in Spare Harry offers his opinion about kilts. He isn’t a fan apparently as he said he didn’t enjoy cold air blowing on his arse.

  11. Sun says:

    Kilts generally look fantastic so I have no idea what his reasoning may be to avoid them. I’ve also been to weddings where non-Scots were encouraged to wear kilts so I don’t think it’s an appropriation thing.

    Looking at all these pics of Charles readily wearing kilts, I can only assume it’s something related to his messed up daddy issues rather than anything specifically to do with Scotland.

  12. Lady Esther says:

    It’s difficult to work out if it’s a) a snub on William’s part toward Scotland, b) a good thing he’s not using Scotland as his personal Tartan Disneyland like the Queen, or a little of Column A, a little of column B….

    What I’m curious about is why he wore his RAF uniform under his Thistle robes to Charles’ Scottish Chubbly? Can anyone explain the logic here other than choosing by colour (as William famously wanted to wear black, not red for his wedding)

  13. Emma says:

    There are very, very, very few people who do not look good in a kilt; it is an almost universally flattering outfit. Looking at that article, Chaz, his Pa, and Eddy Edinburgh all carry it off, but Andrew doesn’t. Perhaps W falls into the latter category? Either that, or he and H have worn them to a private event and H looked better. We know how W rolls…

  14. tolly says:

    Can’t flaunt his moose knuckle in a kilt, obviously.

    • Eurydice says:

      Lol, behold the royal package.

      • antipodean says:

        Totally agree. The trouser bunch wouldn’t be evident in a kilt, and Willy is very keen on displaying the crown jewels as seen in the way he chooses to have his pants fitted. As an aside, Mr Antipodean is Scottish and wore his clan’s tartan kilt on our wedding day, with a bespoke formal jacket. He has lovely legs, and looked like a very handsome snack…which he is! 36 years ago now, but I still remember.

  15. Feeshalori says:

    Someone should Photoshop money bags in William’s clenched fists.

  16. Cem says:

    Nobody likes an itchy scrotum, most especially Willy.

  17. Lucky Charm says:

    If the Invictus Games are ever held in Scotland and Prince Harry wore a kilt, then William would probably start wearing one. Prince Hot Ginge in a kilt? Yes, please! That would make anyone swoon. (and Prince Cold Fish couldn’t let him have all that attention.)

    • 5Mary Pester says:

      @luckycharm, YES Harry in a kilt would look VERY hot, but William in a kilt? How would we be able to tell the difference between his head and his knees (apart from his head as eyes), the rest? identical wrinkly and bald 🤣

  18. EasternViolet says:

    I’d love to see Baldwin in a tam o’shanter though.

  19. HeyKay says:

    Talking about how most folks look good in a kilt made me think.
    Henry Cavill? In a kilt? I’d love to see that!
    Never mind William. LOL

    I’m fine with William not being seen in kilts.
    It really does smack of cosplay to me and the BRF does more than enough of that constantly.

  20. Seraphina says:

    Maybe he’s afraid Kate will try to pat him bum and a kilt is easier access – and accidents may ensue.
    I agree with @BQM, if there is no connection, so why fake it.

  21. A says:

    Alright. I’ll start a rumor. William lost his knees in a tragic wig factory fire approximately four years ago. Just the knees. How, you ask, can one just lose one’s knees? I don’t know, I’m not a knee doctor. Science is always evolving. But what I do know, since I just made up this story, is that Meghan Markle rescued him, literally carried him to safety. He’s been wrestling with his feelings about it ever since but one thing he refuses to do is show his knee-less legs to the public lest they start another peasants’ revolt.

  22. QuiteContrary says:

    Harry in a kilt? Swoon.

    Willy in a kilt? Blech.

    • tamsin says:

      Don’t know about Harry in a kilt. Is he not the one with the skinny legs and knobby knees? Mind you, with his ginger beard, a tam on his head would make him look very Celtic. Off topic, Lili appears to have a glorious head of ginger hair already.

  23. Shawna says:

    Maybe he has bad knees!

    • Puppy1 says:

      @Shawna, This exactly. He must have permanently scarred knees and doesn’t want to show them.

      Meow 🐱, I’m in a mood today. This Puppy got into the Cat Chow this morning and had a heaping helping!

  24. MrsDarcy says:

    You would think a kilt would make pegging easier. Just saying…

  25. Sue E Generis says:

    Maybe his pegging region is too sensitive for cold air to be flowing around?

  26. Anna says:

    As much as i dont like Charles, he – as everybody else – looks great in a kilt. Years ago I was in Edinburgh for a work event. I don’t pretend to know much but almost ALL men were wearing kilts and they looked glorious!!! I think William just has one those stubborn streaks when he’s digging his heels about something because he was asked to do it as some point and now he’s making a a point that NOBODY CAN MAKE HIM DO ANYTHING THAT HE DOESNT WANT TO. Just put on the damn skirt, you sissy!!!

  27. Aidevee says:

    He might feel he doesn’t have Kilt Legs. This is a thing.

    I’m Scottish and am meh about this. Lots of English and American people come to Scotland and spend £££ on kilt outfits – souvenir shops here are ready and willing to greet them.
    However I can honestly say that Scottish people usually either only wear kilts

    A) because they are forced to when they go to school – this was me.
    B) they are off to a wedding or smart party
    C) that’s it really.

    The idea that normal Scottish people go about their day in a kilt is a bit weird. Maybe in touristy industries, but not really beyond that.

    Therefore, William probs feels that dressing up in all his Scotland kitsch comes across as a bit patronising or try-hard.
    He’d be much better off just spending time in Scotland and getting to grips with life here, our particular experience of being part of the union and the opportunities he has to champion great things going on here as well as helping our precious environment.

    I really hope he rewilds Balmoral – that would be amazing. He’d be best off not wearing a kilt for that because the midges would have a field day.

  28. Peony says:

    Y’all have the strangest obsession with the thoughts of putting stuff in this man’s bum …🤷‍♀️

  29. HeyKay says:

    I’d prefer William to dress as most professional people do these days, business casual unless it is a formal event.
    Part of modernizing any monarchy is to stop all the velvet capes, knee socks, slippers, big fat ribbons on everything.

    Kilt? No thanks at all from William

  30. Flowerlake says:

    Charles at least puts some effort in to relate to Scotland and Wales. He learned some Welsh and did his speech in the language. William had decades to learn it, but I don’t think he has?

    And not wearing a kilt….well….

  31. jferber says:

    I laugh to think William worries about cultural appropriation. He’s probably afraid to go commando in a kilt (Scottish men traditionally do this). He’s so uptight he’d fear a wardrobe malfunction that would reveal, yes, a tiny dick. He’s insecure that other royals’ junk would be manlier (especially his brother’s). And that would be true, wouldn’t it?

    • Chrissy says:

      Well, we already know that Harry has more balls than Willnot ever had. So I’m guessing that his junk is more impressive too. And Willnot probably know it!

  32. Cerys says:

    Scottish people don’t go around wearing kilts every day. The royals look ridiculous by dressing up in tartan every time they condescend to visit us.